It never ceases to amaze me how fresh herbs can make anything taste gourmet. You don't have to tell your friends - consider it your secret weapon.

This simple dressing will convince you that you can omit the oil and calories from your dressing without losing a bit of flavor. The lemon gives it a citrus flavor burst, while the balsamic and agave add sweetness and texture.

This salad is colorful and crunchy but the final crunch kick is the toasted hazelnuts which add a very special flavor.  We don’t usually eat hazelnuts that often, so they can add something special to any garnish. Top with more fresh herbs and, you’ve got a rainbow of flavor and texture.


Total Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: n/a
Level: Easy
Yield: 2-3 entré sized salads


  • 1/2 up quinoa (tri-colored, or other variety)
  • 1 C. chopped cucumber (Persian cucumber is preferred but any will do)
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 1 c. chopped red, yellow or green pepper ( or a combination of all three)
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 thinly sliced green onion
  • 1 T. minced fresh mint
  • 2 t. fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons
  • 1 c. grape tomatoes for garnish
  • 3 T. chopped hazelnuts, toasted in a shallow pan on low heat until brown and toasted


  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. agave nectar
  • 1 T. tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic


  1.  Combine quinoa and water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain thoroughly.


  1.  Toss cucumber, celery, pepper, carrots, onions, and mint in a mixing bowl.    Spoon quinoa into dishes or into a ring mold to give it form and height.


  1. Top with toasted hazelnuts, grape tomatoes, fresh ground black pepper, fresh basil.


  1.  Mix all dressing ingredients in high-speed blender until fully incorporated.  Drizzle on top of salad.

Enjoy the Citrus Quinoa Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts, let us know what you think